Perspective: We're Trashing Recycling

Jan 22, 2019

Compared to some folks, I may be pretty green in terms of my interaction with the environment. Heck, at Trader Joe’s they thank me for bringing in my own bags. But after a bit of research, I realized that in my recycling zeal, I was putting prohibited items into my bin.

I was aware that styrofoam and those thin, food containers with the number six etched into the plastic were a no-no but discovered that the Dart Container Corporation in Aurora will accept those, with some exceptions.

Each town has its own specific guidelines, but in Geneva I had to start throwing away those receipts from stores and gas stations printed on shiny paper - they’re actually contaminants. Also into the rubbish now go those frozen food boxes made of a hybrid containing paper and plastic. No take-away cups, lids or straws. I mean really, we need to use those travel mugs we have stashed about.

We’ve been trashing recycling with cheese encrusted pizza boxes, candy wrappers, shredded paper, batteries, even those bio-based/compostable plastic bags, and most definitely with what the industry calls “tanglers,” cords, hangers, wires, and garden hose.

And what’s happening at the recycling plants even when all the rubbish is removed? More and more of it is winding up in landfills and our oceans - the plastics in particular.

I figure this is the perfect time of year to start making better choices.

I’m Paula Garrett and that’s my perspective.